It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportunity to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds out the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression—especially when Shane’s rough good looks have Troy thinking inappropriate thoughts about a player, even if he’s set to retire at the end of the season.
Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon, and with a team that doesn’t trust him, Troy, or each other. Despite his determination not to get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff, out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.
(Book Reviewed here previously)
Avon Gale is one of my favorite authors – ever! She is very gifted at writing humor and romance – together – which isn’t easy. But – in addition- she really knows how to pull at your heartstrings, too. And then you’re laughing through tears which is an amazing feeling.
I love her hockey series best (so far). Her love of the sport is evident and it comes through in her writing. Since I’m such a fan, it’s hard not to compare one book to the other – though each book is very different. So, I distance myself from my fangirl-love and try to look at each story on it’s own merits.
So, if I’m not comparing this story to others in the series, and I’m looking at this as a book on its own – there is absolutely no question that it was EXCELLENT! There’s a lot of humor and the hockey is good. The general storyline is also solid.
My favorite aspect of this particular couple is their need to bicker with one another. It’s pretty hysterical – and then – all of a sudden – they’re having some really hot sex! The chemistry between these guys is phenomenal. (There is a particular scene where some tender things get expressed in the middle of fight – EPIC – so funny!)
I’ll only say that the lack of a character like Lane or Max is really the only thing that makes this “not my favorite in the series”. Neither of these guys is nerdish or terribly awkward and I ADORE those types of characters, so… But that’s about it. This is wonderful and everyone who loves this series MUST read it and yet it stands alone beautifully as well.
Scott Smith is definitely growing on me. There are still some nuances to his narrative that make me a little nuts – the way his sentences and emphasized doesn’t always match how I think they should flow – but his sense of humor and his ability to make unique voices is pretty good. I definitely can listen to his books over and over and that’s huge.
Overall 4.5 of 5 stars
Copy Provided for Honest Review